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Clint P. Aichele (from left), Jason Defreitas, Tom Oomens and Ryan Reuter each received $20,000 as part of the award.

Four OSU professors were named 2021 President’s Fellows Faculty Research Award recipients

Friday, September 17, 2021

Media Contact: Harrison Hill | Research Communication Specialist | 405-744-5827 |

Clint P. Aichele, Jason Defreitas, Tom Oomens and Ryan Reuter each received $20,000 as part of the award.

Clint P. AicheleCLINT P. AICHELE
Dr. Aichele, an associate professor and Lew Ward Faculty Fellow in the School of Chemical Engineering, is planning to use the funding from this award to develop microscale hydrogels for drug delivery with a focus on pulmonary diseases.

This project builds on Aichele’s previous experience working with zwitterionic hydrogels. He plans to hire a graduate student and grow his research group in this emerging area.

The outcomes of this work will serve as the basis for proposals Aichele plans to submit to the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.


Dr. DeFreitas, an associate professor in the School of Kinesiology, Applied Health and Recreation and director of the Applied Neuromuscular Physiology Lab, studies how the brain controls muscles, and how that control system changes with aging, disuse or training.

There are multiple factors that can cause muscles and nerves to degrade. However, current diagnostic assessments don’t detect muscle atrophy well.

DeFreitas plans to look at a newer technology that may allow for the earlier detection of muscle and nerve degradation.
Studies of this kind are difficult to perform and often difficult to get funding for. This award will provide the ability to collect preliminary data, demonstrating the feasibility of the study and lab capabilities at OSU to funding agencies.


Dr. Tom Oomens, an associate professor of virology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, is focused on understanding the life cycle of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). More than 100,000 children die worldwide each year due to RSV, and there is no vaccine.

During the last five to 10 years, Oomens’ lab at OSU has begun to translate the accumulated knowledge into vaccine design and testing and has generated novel vaccine prototypes. This award will help the lab continue to develop and test safe vaccines.

This award will also help expand the lab’s infrastructure and train graduate students who will become the future generation of researchers to fight pandemics.


Dr. Reuter, an associate professor and George Chiga Animal Science Endowed Professor in the Department of Animal and Food Science, focuses on the management and nutrition of grazing livestock.

This award will allow his team to implement a project focused on how to effectively incorporate goats into Oklahoma cover cropping systems, which are currently grazed with cattle only. Goats have a unique dietary preference, and not much is known about how they would graze the cover crops, which are used to improve soil health.

It also will allow for graduate students to get training that will help them tackle the challenges of the future.

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